Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Review: The Myth Makers

Todays review comes to your courtesy of @ChrisNewman1982 who has been reviewing the classic audio novels and soundtracks over on the forum, more of which can be found HERE. So, without further ado, it's over to Chris...


Its blurb time....

The Doctor has adopted many guises in his time, but to be hailed as the great god Zeus is a bit of a shock. Yet this is exactly what happens when the TARDIS lands on the plains of Asia Minor, not far from the city of Troy. Taken to the Greek camp by Achilles, the Doctor is introduced to Agamemnon and Odysseus and forced to admit his less-than-godlike status. He is then given just 2 days to come up with a strategy for defeating the Trojans.

Meanwhile, Steven and Vicki have been taken prisoner by the other side. The Trojans are convinced that Vicki is a spy - and to prove her loyalty she must concoct a plan to defeat the Greeks! Like the Doctor, she has just two days to do it.

Luckily for the Doctor, a certain someone has already devised a scheme for beating the Trojans. Even if the wooden horse was invented for a piece of fiction written in the eighth century, it still works. As the opposing forces come face to face in a climactic battle, there are dangers aplenty for both Steven and Vicki. By the time the TARDIS moves away again, it will have both lost and gained a crew member..

Let us make no bones about it, this story is an absolute cracker! I am a little one-eyed about this story so an objective review is almost impossible for me to produce. What I will instead try to do is give a list of reasons as to why I have enjoyed this story so much...

At the heart of the story (and every good story that this franchise has ever produced) is a crackling performance by the Doctor. Hartnell shines in this story showing a comic touch which betrays his early acting roots. He clearly is more comfortable with this style of story as opposed to those with a more scientific basis. The supporting cast is excellent with Max Adrian's charismatic performance as King Priam particularly impressing.

However, a workman is only as good as his tools, and all of the cast should be thankful for a beautifully written and well crafted script. Donald Cotten has produced a witty, fast paced and highly literate script. Admittedly there are a few liberties taken with the history of the time but these are eminently forgivable when balanced against the needs of story-telling. The final episode is a joy to behold with comedy, tragedy, pathos and melancholy playing against each other and beautifully realised by the performers. The departure of one of the TARDIS regulars and the serious injury to another is almost brutal in the way it is portrayed and this just adds to the general feeling that this story is something special. Occasionally the script tends to be a bit wordy in places and it can be a little difficult to keep ones concentration but actually, this tends to assist the aural experience rather than hinder it. As always, Peter Purves provides an excellent linking narrative and Mark Ayres and the restoration team do a first class job in cleaning up the original source material.

And that, normally, would be that. A first class story which is rollocking good fun yet with a brutal sting in the tail. However, I cannot leave the review without also recommending the Audiobook of the Target Novel which is available now on Amazon for about £5.

This novel, written by Donald Cotten and read by Stephen 'Omega' Thorne is a wonderful counterpoint to the audio soundtrack and is an excellent example of the type of writing which helped us slightly older fans to access the stories in the days before DVDs and VHS.

For more of Chris' reviews, and more by other members, remember to check out our FORUM

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